“Treatment should be the nation’s highest drug enforcement priority, not death.”
(March 19, 2018) — New Jersey— Tamara Harris, candidate for the Democratic Congressional nomination from New Jersey’s 11th District, today expressed strong opposition to President Donald Trump’s new plan for combating drug addiction, in particular the opioid epidemic, in the United States. The White House announced on Sunday that President Trump would unveil a sweeping new drug policy during an event on Monday, with the president supporting the death penalty in certain instances for major drug trafficking crimes.
President Trump has previously expressed praise for the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whose enforcement of a similar policy has led to hundreds of extrajudicial killings of accused drug suspects in that country.
“I am deeply disturbed and concerned that the President of the United States believes seeking capital punishment is an effective policy for reducing drug use in the United States. Decades of medical and social research clearly shows that drug addiction is a public health issue and the most effective strategy for combating the problem is to deploy maximum resources for treatment.
“Treatment should be the nation’s highest drug enforcement priority, not death.
“The president’s announcement is particularly troubling in the context of the country’s long War on Drugs, which since the 1970s has fueled mass incarceration, racial profiling, disparate mandatory minimum sentences, civil asset forfeiture and other practices that are either unconstitutional or ineffective at combating addiction.
“As a social worker, I know firsthand that fighting addiction begins with treatment, and that access to treatment services is closely related to the availability of adequate healthcare. Our legislative, political and law enforcement leaders must work together to ensure not only the fair enforcement of our drug laws, but the right of every American to adequate healthcare, which in many cases can assist with treatment and help reduce drug dependency and addiction,” says Democratic Congressional Candidate Tamara Harris (NJ- 11).
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